Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Where be The Mist?

For months I have had the Region 1 DVD of The Mist sitting in my amazon.com basket. I read and hugely enjoyed the Stephen King novella from which it's adapted when it was published in his Skeleton Crew collection, and I had been looking forward to Frank Darabont's long-mooted movie version for many years.

The film came out in the US late last year and has been out on DVD for a few months. Normally, I would have snapped it up straight away but I really wanted to see it on the big screen. When circumstances made me miss every single press screening, I figured I'd see it opening weekend in the UK but thanks to rather peculiar release strategy of The Mist's UK distributors I found every single local cinema (and a number further afield) playing it late night on Friday and Saturday and... that's it. I mean, WTF is that all about? Does Darabont know his film is getting such treatment?

Looks like I'm going to be buying that DVD after all.


Michael Smith said...

Hi Mark,
That's so disappointing! I saw the Mist yesterday here in Manchester. I knew nothing about it going in, and found it gripping: a superbly measured movie, intelligently unfolded.

I must say, though, that London isn't all it's cracked up to be for seeing films. I spent last year studying there, and the high prices, bizarre distribution patterns, often small screens, and disparate locations made it a bit of a mission to even check out a big release! Here in Manchester there is a 20 screen odeon and the sublime Cornerhouse cinema which specializes in arthouse fare, and it honestly feels like it is an easy place to be a film fan! Of course, London has the superb BFI which cannot be bettered, in spite of the negative atmosphere I often detect amongst certain patrons. In fact, one of my best experiences of last year was watching Sweeney Todd (I have now seen it 8 times at the cinema alone, and, along with The Assassination of Jesse James, was my favourite movie of last year) with a surprise appearance of Tim Burton following the screening. So, whilst I am here, I should thank you for arranging such a lovely, unexpected treat.

Mark Salisbury said...

Hi Michael

Thanks for dropping by. And thanks for posting!

Eight times? Wow. I'm still at three (although now I have it on DVD I shall be watching it again soon). Tim was indeed in very good form that evening. All I had to do was prod him in the right direction.

As for cinema going, I agree with you about the BFI (a glorious place to see films) but I've also been spoilt by many years of rarified press screenings (no adverts, no talking). A friend and I had a rather unpleasant experience watching Wanted recently (which I'm planning on writing about soon — the experience, not the film) that actually made me wonder why I bother paying money to go the cinema any more when I can stay at home and watch a Blu Ray on a large telly and know it'll be shown in the right ratio.

Still, that's for another day.

Mark Salisbury said...

PS. I'm glad someone saw The Mist! And liked it!

Michael Smith said...

I'm not usually one to see films so many times at the cinema, although I am definately of the opinion that a great film must be seen several times to fully appreciate it and enjoy its patterns and nuances. With Sweeney, I almost felt addicted to the experience of the film, and I definately appreciated it more, the more screening I saw! Tim Burton was indeed a wonderful interviewee on that night; as with other interviews I've seen with him, he seems to find it difficult to express himself verbally (in spite of being warm and funny), which makes me appreciate, all the more, just how expressive he is as an artist.

About cinemagoing: well, I've never seen a Blu-ray film (is it as good as people claim?), but I see what you mean about sometimes preferring to see movies at home rather than the cinema. The technology is such now that a movie fan can watch a film on a huge screen, with great quality, and surround sound... I suppose the increased use of IMAX and 3D presentations are the studios' way of trying to provide an experience that cannot be had at home.

In spite of many times experiencing infuriating people talking openly through a film and other such nuicances, there is surely few greater pleasures than walking into a dark cinema and taking a seat amongst other excited audience members (trying to keep a lid on my Dark Knight excitement at the moment!)

And The Mist has had some bad reviews I find difficult to agree with. It has the brevity, concision, narrative ambiguity, and sublimely unexpected ending of a great short story.

Gerard said...

I caught it a few months back over here and liked though didn't love. I felt it laid THE POINT on a little too hard and thick, and the ending, though the kind of wrap-up I'd typically love, played out over far too brief a period to elicit the desired impact. In fact, in unfolding so quickly, it felt more like a Simpsons Twilight Zone parody than the punch to the gut that's clearly intended. The rest of the film is solid and entertaining for the most, and the interdimensional bugs pleasingly icky... I'm just annoyed the Australian DVD doesn't contain the decolourised version that's on the R1 two-disc. That I am keen to see.

Mark Salisbury said...

I agree with you. There's nothing like settling down in a dark cinema waiting to be entertained/scared/etc and I don't think I'll be giving it up entirely anytime soon.

BUT having said that, watching a movie on Blu-Ray is even better than you heard. The quality is simply astonishing. In many ways the leap from DVD to Blu-Ray is much the same as video to DVD.

I was given Sweeney on both DVD and Blu-Ray and while I've only watched the first ten minutes of each, the difference in picture quality between the two is extremely noticeable.

Not that I'm planning on trading in my DVD collection anytime soon...

J.D. said...

I really liked THE MIST and loved the gut-wrenching ending. A lot of reviews have slammed the film for it but I think it was incredibly effective and interesting, Darabont says in his audio commentary on the DVD that it was in keeping with King's intentions in the original short story and he just took it to the next, logical conclusion.